News Shorts – 13th June, 2012

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Here’s what’s making headlines and a preview of what is coming up…

UPDATE: Andy Schleck Out Of Tour de France; Wiggins makes history; Sky in control; Evans goes out fighting; Sagan unstoppable; Giro Champ Hesjedal to race Tour; Hincapie to retire this year; Schlecks and Shack working towards Tour; Sky’s team?; Contador re-signs with Saxo Bank; Arndt wins again; A future star…

UPDATE: Andy Schleck Out of Tour

RTL reports that Andy Schelck’s injuries from his crash at the Dauphiné are worse than expected. Examinations have shown that he has fractured his pelvis and will be out for six weeks. Schleck crashed hard in the stage 4 ITT of the Dauphiné and later abandoned the race in the final stage.

Wiggins makes history

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) defended his lead through the Critérium du Dauphiné to win the overall Sunday and made a bit of history. The Brit became the first rider to win the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Dauphiné in one year.

Only two other riders, Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil, had pulled off the Paris-Nice/Dauphiné double before. The cycling greats also went on to win the Tour de France in the same year.

Bradley Wiggins taking the overall victory of the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine

“This is all a road to winning the Tour, but at the same time, I have to stop and think, ‘You just won Paris-Nice, you just won Romandie or you just won the Dauphiné again.’ You have to take that in, otherwise they’re meaningless,” Wiggins said after his win.

“Tonight and the next few days, just try to soak it in. I just won the Dauphiné for the second time. Not many riders have done it. Just looking down the list of winners… You’re adding your name to a very special list.”

Making history was on his mind Sunday. Be for leaving the press conference, he asked, “Do any of you know who has won both Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné in the same year? I was thinking of that today while I was riding along.”

Sky in control

Sky jumped from third to first in the Union Cycliste International (UCI) WorldTour rankings with Wiggins’ Dauphiné win. In addition to Wiggins, the British team place three of their riders in the top ten: Mick Rogers in second, Chris Froome in fourth and Richie Porte in ninth.

It also controls the top spot in CQ Ranking’s list, which takes into account non-WorldTour races, such as Mick Rogers’ win in Bayern-Rundfahrt. Katusha sits in second in both lists.

1 Sky 803
2 Katusha 716
3 Liquigas-Cannondale 633
4 OmegaPharma-Quick Step 580
5 Astana 519

CQ Ranking:
1 Sky 6746
2 Katusha 6047
3 OmegaPharma-Quick Step 5700
4 Garmin-Barracuda 5005
5 Liquigas-Cannondale 4958

Evans goes out fighting

Cadel Evans closed the Dauphiné in third overall and with a proper fight. After being criticised during the week, BMC Racing came out in force to help Evans win the stage in Châtel, France, and to possibly move up to second overall.

Tejay Van Garderen and Amaël Moinard hammered in the last kilometres to place Evans well for the 1.5km rise into town. USA’s Van Garderen, however, suffered a rear puncture four kilometres out.

“We were going for it, Tejay was going to be my main guy to help me in the last K or two, but he got taken out. It was a bit unlucky, being left alone. I was going for the stage and maybe an odd chance of improving my classification,” Evans explained.

Cadel Evans during Stage of Criterium Du Dauphine when he broke clear midway through the stageon the descent of the Grand Colombier.

“My main objective of the year is the Tour, of course, but I take each race as a race, whether I win or lose. That’s the way I race, that’s the way I like to race. I try to win, but I was beaten by a better team and a better guy.”

Evans also scored a stage win on day two by attacking on the downhill run to Saint-Vallier. He leaves the race for a block of training and then the Tour de France.

“Hopefully, I’ll have my best form of the year so far. I still got some room for improvement, which is the way I like it.”

Sagan unstoppable

Just how impressive is Peter Sagan of team Liquigas? After five stage wins in the Tour of California, he comes back swinging in the Tour de Suisse. He won the opening 7.3km time trial ahead of Olympic Champion Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and two days later, Monday, he won a sprint against Baden Cooke (Orica-GreenEDGE).

In a press release he warned, “I already have two stage wins, but if there’s a chance in the next days, I certainly won’t hold myself back.” Having said that, he won stage four yesterday ahead of Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE).

The Slovakian has won 10 times this year, two less than the leader André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). Since turning pro in 2010, he’s won stages in Paris-Nice, the Vuelta a España, the Tour of California, Tirreno-Adriatico, Romandie, Poland and Oman. It’s impressive to think that 22 or 73 per cent of his 30 wins come in WorldTour races.

In his first Grand Tour last year in the Vuelta a España he scored immediately, winning three stages. The next stop is the Tour de France. Though he’s 22 years old and it’s his debut, it’d be a disappointment if he didn’t come away with at least one stage win.

Giro Champ Hesjedal to race Tour

Ryder Hesjedal will lead team Garmin-Barracuda at the Tour de France starting June 30 in Liège, Belgium.

“I am going to be the team leader for the Tour,” he told VeloNews. “I have earned that designation, and I am confident and the team is confident that if I have the legs.”

Only seven riders have won the Giro-Tour double, the last being Marco Pantani in 1998. Hesjedal will be the leader, but the American team can also rely on Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson.

“Let’s see how I can recover and build myself back up for the Tour,” Hesjedal added. “It’s worth taking a chance.”

Hincapie to retire this year

George Hincapie, 38, announced on Monday that he will retire this season after helping Evans to defend his Tour title.

George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team) pictured during Stage 5 of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California

“I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference,” the American said in a BMC Racing press release. “To compete for 19 years as a professional cyclist has been something I would have never dreamed of doing. But at the same time, it’s also going to be good to spend more time with my kids.”

Hincapie turned professional in 1994. If he starts the Tour, he’ll set the record for 17 participations. In seven of those editions, he helped Lance Armstrong win.

Schlecks and Shack working towards Tour

Andy and Fränk Schleck are working, via separate paths, toward the Tour. Fränk was narrowly beaten by Rui Costa (Movistar) on Monday in a mountaintop arrival at the Tour de Suisse. Brother Andy abandoned the Dauphiné, but heads to the Pyrenees Thursday to train with his RadioShack team-mates.

Andy suffered from a virus this year and had a disappointing run in the Ardennes classics. In the Dauphiné, he lost time to his rivals on the climbs and crashed in the time trial. He abandoned on Saturday’s stage to Morzine.

“If I always lost the motivation after a little setback, then I would be on my bike any more,” Schleck told VeloNews after the time trial. “I’m not worried. I’ve got many critics that say my shape is not good, but I know where I can go and where I need to be.”

Fränk abandoned the Giro d’Italia after a crash, but appears to be the stronger of the two thanks to Monday’s stage in Suisse.

RadioShack announced its long list of riders for the Tour on Monday, including the Schlecks, but leaving off Tirreno-Adriatico winner Chris Horner. The list: Fabian Cancellara, Jakob Fuglsang, Tony Gallopin, Linus Gerdemann, Markel Irizar, Andreas Klöden, Maxime Monfort, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston, Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Jens Voigt and Haimar Zubeldia.

Irizar, Roulston, Zubeldia are with Andy this week in the Pyrenees.

Sky’s team?

Sky has the fortune to have two winning options for the Tour de France: Mark Cavendish and Brad Wiggins. Cavendish has already won 20 stages and the sprinters’ green jersey; Wiggins has won several major stage races, which puts him as top favourite to win the yellow jersey.

“The team will pick who they want, they will go with a strategy they see fit. If the goal is to win the Tour or the green… I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to them,” Wiggins said, according to Cycling Weekly. “They’ll get together and decide on the Tour strategy and they’ll select a team for that. I couldn’t tell you either way, it’d just be speculating.”

Wiggins will likely rely on Rogers, Porte, Froome, Christian Knees and Kanstantsin Siutsou, and Cavendish will have Bernhard Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen. The team will announce its long list of 14 riders today.

Contador re-signs with Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank announced on Friday that it’d welcome Alberto Contador back into the team after his doping ban ends in August. The team initially signed the Spaniard in late 2010, shortly before the UCI announced he tested positive for doping at the Tour de France.

“All along throughout these last two tough years we have stood by Alberto,” team owner Bjarne Riis said in a press release, “so to be able to announce his return to the team is something I have been really looking forward to.”

Alberto Contador during Trofeo Palma 2012 in Mallorca

Contador raced for Astana when he tested positive and won the Tour for a third time. This February, the Sport’s high court, CAS served him a retroactive two-year ban that stripped him of the 2010 Tour and several other wins.

Saxo Bank is said to be saving several of its Spanish domestiques, including Daniel Navarro and Jesús Hernández, for the Vuelta a España. Instead of the Tour de France, they’ll help Contador in his comeback at the Vuelta a España.

Arndt wins again

After winning the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Qatar, GreenEDGE-AIS’s Judith Arndt won the Emakumeen Euskal Bira stage race on Sunday.

“We raced brilliantly this week,” said Sports Director Dave McPartland in a press release. “We had a goal at the start of the week to win the general classification. Despite repeated small mistakes that added up during the race, the team kept on getting on with the job at hand.”

Arndt sits second overall in CQ Ranking…

1 Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo) 1481
2 Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE-AIS) 991
3 Emma Johansson (Hitec Products – Mistral Home) 878
4 Ina Teutenberg (Specialized – Lululemon) 748
5 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Stichting Rabo) 641

A future star…

American Joseph Dombrowski smashed his rivals on Monday up the Monte Terminillo climb in southern Italy and took the overall lead in the GiroBio, or baby Giro d’Italia.

The 21-year-old of team Bontrager – Livestrong competed in the Tour of California last month and placed 12th overall. To get an idea of his talents, watch yesterday’s stage three, where he drops his rivals with around six kilometres to race.

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